The historian Manuel Espadas has highlighted the social and sacred importance of wine in the Roman civilization
This afternoon the Historian and Researcher for the CSIC (Spanish National Research Council) Manuel Espadas Burgos, presented an interesting editorial feature at FENAVIN, 'La historia del vino en la Antígua Roma' (The History of Wine in Ancient Rome), written by the journalist and writer Elena Díaz Funchal, who is making her debut in literary matters with this work in which she has gathered together a compendium of knowledge on how they used to cultivate, produce and drink wine 1000 years ago and how this food product had an influence in the literature of the time, in medicinal and gastronomic traditions and in art itself.
Espadas Burgos has commented that this book is an easy read and truly pleasurable, with a painstakingly long bibliographic and documentary revision, which is presented in the best possible setting and in a country "in which wine is a very important element, not only because of its gastronomic and cultural aspect, but also because of its religious standpoint", likewise mentioning that this is a book that must be read in order to find out what wine has truly represented in European culture, in particular in the Roman Civilization of which he is personally very knowledgeable due to his profession and because he actually lived in Rome for nine years.
On her part, Elena Díaz Funchal indicated that the project came to be by pure chance, the same championed by the editor Jesús Ayuso, and despite admitting that she is not precisely an expert in wine, during her research for the book she was in fact caught off guard when she discovered the legacy that the Romans had left behind them in European culture and the great ties and links that exist between wine and religion, "as wine marked the calendar of festivities and was present in all sorts of ceremonies and offerings made to the gods."
The author's idea with this book was to attract the reader's curiosity, understanding the reader in the broadest of categories "as I have not written a book for the specialized public, but quite the contrary, for all those who want to immerse themselves, in an entertaining and accurate manner, that is in as far as dates are concerned, in the significance that wine had for the Romans." Civilization that, according to Díaz Funchal, inherited its customs from the Etruscans, Greeks and Carthaginians, among others, with some of these customs represented in the fact that women were not allowed to drink wine, the encounters among the more noble classes around Baco's nectar, which were denominated Symposiums or how those wines considered as sacred were stored in meticulously clean amphorae.
In the opinion of Díaz Funchal, journalist for the magazine Revista Castilla-La Mancha, pertaining to the Government of Castilla-La Mancha, it was the Roman civilization that actually turned cultivation of the vine into a profession, profiting from the "vineyard operations" and in turn spreading the culture of wine throughout Europe in the measure that the soldiers extended the empire's domains. A tradition, which despite the fall of the Roman Empire a thousand years later, continued dominant in the Christian world, "because it was a consecrated element, which gave rise to the ceremony of the Eucharist; apart from the fact that the monks perpetuated cultivation of the vine." In her book she also introduces the reader to the Last Supper in which the Sacraments of the Eucharist were established, underlining various hypotheses on the type of wine that Jesus Christ might have used during the ceremony.
Prior to the presentation of the book, the book's publisher, Jesús Ayuso, Gold Medal to Merit in Work and laureate of the Regional Plate to Merit of Castilla-La Mancha, pointed out that the Endymion publishing house has made a very painstaking and elegant print run of a thousand copies, with a book cover that is allusive to the mythology of wine in Roman times.